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June 1 Brings Closed, Open Seasons

Jeff Weakley landed this snook on an Atlantic Coast grassflat.

Anglers on both coasts feel the effects of closed seasons starting June 1.

Atlantic Coast

The recreational take of snook in Atlantic waters closes June 1. Snook will reopen in Atlantic federal, state and inland waters, including Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River, Sept. 1. Snook remain closed in Gulf of Mexico state waters, including Everglades National Park and Monroe County, through Aug. 31. A stock assessment on snook will be presented to the FWC Commission at its June 27-28 meeting in West Palm Beach. Seasonal closures protect Florida’s valuable snook populations and help sustain and improve the fishery.

Gulf Coast

Gulf of Mexico amberjack catches are closed off to anglers in Gulf of Mexico state and federal waters starting June 1. Greater amberjack will reopen to catch-and-keep in Gulf waters on Aug. 1.


Judd Lee could have kept this monster red snapper if he was fishing on the opposite Florida Coast. Lee caught this red snapper on a chartreuse jighead baited with a Spanish sardine off Jacksonville.

Gulf of Mexico red snapper season begins June 1

The 2012 Gulf of Mexico red snapper recreational season begins June 1 in state and federal waters. The last day of the 40-day season is July 10. This year’s state season, which is the same as the 2012 federal recreational red snapper season in the Gulf of Mexico, was set in May at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission meeting.

Florida state waters in the Gulf extend from shore to nine nautical miles; federal waters extend beyond that line to 200 nautical miles.

The FWC considers the Gulf red snapper stock to be improving, but believes the population still needs an increase in the number of older fish for it to be sustainable. Red snapper are estimated to live more than 50 years, but the current stock consists primarily of fish that are only a few years old, says the FWC and Gulf Council.